Filling the shoes of the magical Welsh fly-halves was never going to be easy. In any other country Gareth Davies would have gone down in the record books as a fine exponent of his art, but with Barry John and Phil Bennett as his illustrious predecessors he would always be judged unfairly harshly. The Oxford graduate and Cardiff player gained twenty-one caps and made his mark as a stylish and efficient number ten. He boasted a superb place kick and could launch massive clearing kicks. Of those twenty-one caps, seventeen were gained in partnership with his Cardiff team mate Terry Holmes. Holmes' abrasive qualities were the ideal foil to Davies' more subtle skills.
He made his Wales debut against the Australians in 1978 and in the second test got off the mark with a drop goal and two penalties. It was to be a losing start though, with defeat following against New Zealand. Success followed in the 1979 season with a Triple Crown but generally Welsh rugby was in decline by this point. Denied quality ball from a Welsh pack who were always struggling, Davies often found himself on the back foot. However, he was selected to play for the British Lions on their tour of South Africa in 1980.
He missed the early part of the tour through a shoulder injury but made a mesmerising comeback in the game against Transvaal. Davies was an impressive force in the Second Test but he did not complete the match, leaving the pitch with a knee injury with the game delicately poised at 16-15 to the Springboks. It was the end of Gareth's tour but not his career and he went on to feature regularly over the next couple of seasons, including all 4 games of a rather disappointing 1982 Five Nations campaign.
Davies then disappeared into the international wilderness for three years before returning to play against Scotland, Ireland and France in the 1985 Championship, finishing on the winning side twice. He retired at the end of that '85 season. A building society manager, his autobiography was aptly called 'Standing Off'. (John Lovell)